This Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cake is sure to be the hit of the Thanksgiving dessert table! This moist applesauce cake is topped with a gooey apple brown sugar crumble that is decadent and comforting. This fall treat is not only easy to prepare but also promises a burst of spiced apple goodness in every bite!
This gluten-free apple cake uses applesauce which serves as the perfect egg replacer. It helps bind the cake and keeps it moist and tender.
Each bite is filled with fall flavors including apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
This cake is gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free but no one will care when they are served a piece of the gooey caramelized brown sugar apple cake. It's that good!
This simple and delicious vegan and gluten-free apple cake with an apple pecan streusel topping is moist, easy to make, and the perfect treat for the colder months.
A delicious sweet treat that fills the house with the smell of spiced cinnamon apples!
These are the ingredients needed for the apple cake layer.
These are the ingredients for the apple brown sugar crumble topping.
Ground Flaxseed: Flaxseeds are combined with water to create a flax egg. This will add moisture to our cake.
Gluten-Free Flour: I recommend using Bob's Red Mill in the blue bag. Baking vegan and gluten-free can be tricky because different flours will produce different results.
Almond Flour: Almond flour adds a lightness to this crumb cake.
Leavening Agents: The mixture of baking powder and baking soda will help the cake rise and become soft and fluffy.
Spices: A combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cardamom are added to create a perfectly spiced cake.
Yogurt & Applesauce: Both add moisture.
Olive Oil: You can use a neutral oil as well.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Acidic ingredients make cakes more moist and fluffy.
Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds more flavor than regular sugar. Cinnamon and brown sugar are a must in this apple cake!
Apple Crumble Topping: This apple cake is topping with a crumble topping consisting of brown sugar, flour, pecans, cinnamon, kosher salt, melted vegan butter, and a diced apple. When baked, it creates a gooey caramelized brown sugar on top of the fluffy cake.
Apple: Any variety of apple will work. Honey crisp, Granny Smith, Gala, Pink Lady, McIntosh, and Golden Delicious are all great options.
See recipe card for quantities.
This gluten-free apple crumb cake happens to be very simple to make. You'll need a few different size bowls, a whisk, and a spatula to make the components of this recipe.
Other than that, you’ll need an 8×8 pan for this recipe.
How to Make This Recipe
This recipe for vegan apple cake with pecan streusel is the perfect sweet treat for Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert!
But it's amazing any time of the year, too!
The full written recipe can be found in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Whisk together the gluten-free all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the spices in a large bowl until well combined.
Step 2: In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, vegan yogurt, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, flaxseed mixture, and brown sugar until well combined. Pour the wet batter into the dry ingredients and fold to mix until just combined.
Step 3: Make the apple topping by mixing together the brown sugar, flour, chopped pecans, cinnamon, salt and melted vegan butter until crumbly. If the mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon more flour.
Step 4: Chop the apple and stir into the topping mixture. Set aside.
Step 5: Pour the cake batter into the prepared 8x8 parchment lined baking pan.
Step 6: Sprinkle the apple brown sugar crumble evenly over the top.
Step 7: Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Note: Allow the apple cake to cool in the pan for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack for complete cooling. It's crucial to let the cake cool before slicing to prevent crushing the crumb and potential gumminess.
Substitutions & Variations
When it comes to vegan and gluten-free baking, it's not recommended to make many substitutions. One small change could ruin the outcome.
It's best to stick to the recipe as written.
Gluten-Free Flour: I recommend using Bob's Red Mill in the blue bag. Using a different flour or changing ingredients too much could yield very different results.
Almond Flour: Almond flour adds a lightness to the crumb. If you're nut-free, try adding more gluten-free flour. The texture of the cake will be a bit more dense.
Applesauce: You could try pumpkin purée or mashed banana for a different flavor.
Storage: Allow the applesauce cake to cool completely and then transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Reheating: If you like to enjoy your apple cake warm, simply microwave it in 30 second intervals or place it in a preheated oven until warmed through.
Freeze: Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight before enjoying.
Tips & Tricks
Avoid over-measuring the flour. To properly measure the gluten-free flour, fluff the flour with a fork and then spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a knife. Over-measuring will result in a dense cake.
Use Bob's Red Mill in the BLUE bag. Baking vegan and gluten-free can be tricky because different flours produce different results.
This recipe yielded the best results when using Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten-free blend in the blue bag.
Other Flour Options: I've also tested this recipe using King Arthur Gluten-Free 1 to 1 flour and it was slightly more gritty in texture. I've also used oat flour which tasted good but wasn't as fluffy.
Make sure your leavening agents are fresh. Baking powder and baking soda make the cake rise. Baking powder and baking soda that is not fresh will result in a flat, gummy cake.
Avoid over-mixing the batter! Mix until just combined or you don't see any streaks of flour.
Let the apple cake cool in the pan for at least 10 to 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. It's very important to allow the cake to cool before cutting it. Cutting too early crushed the crumb and could result in a gummy texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
If your cake is dense or dry, try measuring your flour by fluffing with fork and then spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling it off. A dense cake often happens when too much flour is added.
My best attempts at gluten-free baking has been when using Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour in the blue bag.
More Sweet Treats
Looking for other dessert recipes like this? Try these:
Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Cake
- 2 tablespoons Ground Flaxseed + 4 tablespoons Water
- 1 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour see note
- 1 cup Almond Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
- ¼ teaspoon Allspice
- ¼ teaspoon Cardamom
- ⅓ cup Applesauce room temperature
- ¼ cup Vegan Yogurt room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
- ¾ cup Packed Brown Sugar
Apple Crumble Topping
- ½ cup Packed Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Chopped Pecans
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- Pinch of Kosher Salt
- 3 tablespoons Vegan Butter melted
- 1 Medium Apple diced
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 cake pan with parchment paper.
- Stir together the ground flaxseed with 4 tablespoons of water in a small dish. Set aside to thicken. This is our egg replacement.
- Whisk together the gluten-free all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the spices in a large bowl until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, vegan yogurt, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, flaxseed mixture, and brown sugar until well combined.
- Pour the wet batter into the dry ingredients and fold to mix until just combined or you don't see any streaks of flour. Avoid over-mixing.
- Make the apple topping by mixing together the brown sugar, flour, chopped pecans, cinnamon, salt and melted vegan butter until crumbly. If the mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon more flour. Chop the apple and stir into the topping mixture.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and then sprinkle the apple brown sugar crumble evenly over the top.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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